The Dangers of Positive Thinking…

Are you an Optimist or a Pessimist?

Are you an Optimist or a Pessimist?

There’s a popular (and silly) philosophical test out there that shows you a glass half-full of water; if you say the glass is half-full, you’re an optimistic… if you say it’s half empty, then you’re a pessimist. This is idiotic.Recently, due to my outlook of life, someone tried to pose this question to me online, in the hope of proving that I’m a pessimist. “There’s a glass of water…” he started to type. I cut him short and stumped him at once by answering: “The answer is both, you moron: the glass is half-full and half empty at the same time. I’m a REALIST.”

You see, I have a problem with optimism; in my home country everyone is so optimistic about everything turning all right… that they don’t do anything to try to improve things. They just wait, completely paralyzed by hope.

You can beat them with a cudgel, rob them, make them lose their job, starve them, burn down their shanties, kill their children, rape their dogs… and my countrymen just shrug and smile, thinking that some day, somehow, everything will sort itself out.

And they continue their haphazard lives without taking the least precaution.

This is driving me crazy…

Therefore, I developed an allergic reaction to optimistic people.

You know, I noticed all these cheerful people share two common traits; they’re absolutely careless and are completely unaware of the intrinsic danger locked within positive thinking.

(All the positive thinking in the world won’t save you if you decide to jump from an airplane without a parachute or a safe place where you can land safely).

Stop singing that tune!!! (And the finger-snapping, while you're at it).

Stop singing that tune!!!
(And the finger-snapping, while you’re at it).

As an example… (no, make that two examples) I can present you Tony, the leader of the Jets gang in that fantastic movie, West Side Story. After the opening dancing sequence introduces us the gang, its members are wondering out loud where the heck their leader is. Well, he’s working (work is a four-lettered word to these young punks, you know) by stacking soda crates in some back alley, nonetheless.Cue to the scene of the back alley, showing us Tony stacking soda crates (duh) and discussing the plans that he has about his future with his new employer. Suddenly, Tony bursts into song and starts crooning “Whoooo Knoooows…? Feeling utterly positive over what the future might bring to him.

Well, that’s nice.

And of course, during the next 48 hours, Tony meets Maria at a dance hall, falls madly in love… and ends up pushing daisies before the final movie credits begin.

Example two: In Defending Your Life (1991), Albert Brooks just got a nice promotion. As congratulatory presents, his friends and colleagues have bought him a brand new CD player and a stack of records. Life is good to him; he’s on his way to pick up a spanking new sports car at the nearest Porsche dealership.

Can you picture him, sitting on his brand new car, rolling down the street? He notices that his new set of wheels has a built-in CD player. On a whim, he unwraps one of the CDs from the stack of records sitting on top of the passenger seat, and inserts it into the player. Its speaker burst into song; Barbra Streisand starts singing “Whooo Knoooows…? (Now… where I’ve heard that one before?). A driver from a nearby car hollers at him: “Do we have to listen that %&!&?!?!”. Albert Brooks just sniggers, quite pleased with himself.

Of course, our hapless hero’s careless driving causes some of the CDs from the stack to slide from the seat and fall to the car’s floor. He bends over to prevent this and… he suddenly becomes the hood ornament of a Mack Truck. (Ok, so I fibbed a bit there; it was actually a city bus, but you must agree that ‘becoming the hood ornament of a Mack Truck’ has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?)

Is there a moral to these two examples? I’m not quite sure; it’s either stop singing that fateful West Side Story tune and be more careful about what you’re doing… or maybe that you shouldn’t trust Albino midgets who come in riding on a monocycle.


Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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3 thoughts on “The Dangers of Positive Thinking…

  1. Well stated. THINKING positive accomplishes nothing. Sincerity doesn’t change reality (Think Linus in the pumpkin patch. His belief did NOT change reality). However, positive thinking paired with ACTION can cause change. Perhaps not to the whole world, but to the life of the person. I’m very into existential philosophy. If you don’t like your life, do something to change it. But in order not to be crushed down by inertia, some small flare of hope that life CAN be better has to remain. Otherwise despair and depression beat you down into a morass of hopelessness. Believe a little. Do a lot. Yeah, it’s hard and scary. Do it anyway. That’s what courage means.

  2. Well I consider myself an optimist but still I must admit I agree with some points you made here. Foolish optimism without actual hard work or any kind of action probably won’t work well for anyone.

  3. For true realism I prefer the cost accountant’s answer – the glass was made twice as big as it needed to be!

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